NFL Draft 2023: Here are Bears' picks in ESPN's latest mock draft
Trevor Ruszkowski - USA Today Sports

NFL Draft 2023: Here are Bears' picks in ESPN's latest mock draft

by - Senior Editor -

The NFL Draft is always an exciting time for football fans, as it provides an opportunity to build for the future and address team needs.

One team that will be closely watched in this year's draft is the Chicago Bears, who have been searching for a long-term solution at the offensive line position.

In the latest mock draft from ESPN's Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr., the Bears are projected to select offensive tackle Peter Skoronski from Northwestern with the eighth overall pick.

“I've gone back and forth on which offensive lineman the Bears will take here, but Skoronski is the best on my board (No. 8 overall), even though I like him a little more as a guard,” wrote Kiper Jr. “Chicago needs a right tackle, which is why I projected Darnell Wright here in my two-round mock. I'd be confident in Skoronski's ability to learn the position.”

Skoronski is considered by many to be the best offensive lineman in this year's draft class and for good reason. Despite concerns about his arm length, Skoronski was a standout left tackle for Northwestern last season, surrendering just six pressures all year.

He has the size and athleticism to excel at the next level, and his versatility is an asset as well. While he is projected to play right tackle, Kiper Jr. believes he could also excel as a guard.

The Bears' need for offensive line help is no secret. Last season, the team allowed a ton of sacks and didn't give Justin Fields much time in a clean pocket.

The addition of Skoronski would provide quarterback Justin Fields with much-needed protection in the pocket.

In addition to Skoronski, the Bears are projected to select defensive tackle Mazi Smith from Michigan in the second round.

“Smith is one of the strongest players in this class,” wrote Kiper Jr. “He won't offer much as an interior pass-rusher, but he will plug holes in the run game.”

Smith is a powerful run-stopper who would provide depth and versatility along the defensive line.

The team is also projected to select defensive end Derick Hall from Auburn and cornerback Cam Smith from South Carolina later in the draft.

“The Bears are devoid of pass-rushers; they haven't added many guys this offseason who can get after the quarterback,” wrote Kiper JR. “Hall had 16 sacks over the past two seasons. He is a better fit for a team that runs a 3-4 defense, but he could be a situational rusher as a rookie while he puts on more weight to hold up against the run.”

Both players have the potential to be solid contributors on defense and would address areas of need for the team.

“I like what you did with the first three Chicago picks, Mel,” wrote McShay. “You hit their top three positions of need, so I guess I'll pivot to their fourth: cornerback. Smith is a reliable cover guy with great instincts and plenty of versatility.”

Overall, the Bears' mock draft from McShay and Kiper Jr. looks like a solid plan for the team. The addition of Skoronski would provide a major boost to the offensive line, while the other picks would help shore up the defense.

Of course, anything can happen on draft day, and it's impossible to know for sure how things will shake out. But if the Bears follow this plan, they could be in a much better position heading into the 2023 season.

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